A Panic (Buying) Attack

, , , , , , , | Right | May 24, 2020

I am doing our weekly grocery shopping at a certain large box store. I hate grocery shopping, especially there, and have started experiencing mild anxiety attacks because of it. No problem; I usually bring my daughter and have her do most of the work, and if I need to sit down she can finish.

Not today. In keeping with the social distancing recommendations, I go alone. For two hours. The attack hits halfway through the checkout process, and I nearly pass out.

No less than four staff come to help me out. One finishes checking me out — I am on the self-checkout lane — another stays with me while I sit long enough to make it out to the car, and a third walks me out and loads my groceries so I can sit in the air conditioning.

It is nice, in the middle of all this panic, to see retail employees taking the time to take care of a customer like that.

1 Thumbs

Skewering Your Hopes Of Staying Contactless

, , , , , | Working | May 23, 2020

Due to the regulations in Norway surrounding the recent disease outbreak, most restaurants are closed except for takeout. I head over to surprise my husband with some of his favorite döner kebab to cheer him up. 

As I am waiting — patiently, one meter apart from all the other patrons — to order, I see advertisements everywhere in the restaurant asking people to pay with contactless payment methods to avoid unnecessary touching. They’re on the digital menu screens, on signs,  everywhere, asking people to pay with contactless methods.

I almost always try to use contactless anyway, so I’m pleased. There should be no reason to touch the PIN pad, as it is a transaction under the currency requirement that makes you enter your PIN code using your bank card. 

I eventually make my way to the front, place my order, and go to pay using contactless payment, only for the screen to prompt for me to enter a tip into the keypad and hit “OKAY” to acknowledge the total. The gentleman working there has no ability to enter it in himself, so I am forced to touch the PIN pad regardless.

1 Thumbs

She’ll Figure It Out In Due Course

, , , , | Right | May 23, 2020

We are all to-go only in the state right now. A middle-aged lady shows up an hour late for her “lunch date” with her boyfriend, and they have not placed an order ahead of time. We have a drive-up check-in area for online orders. When slow, we can take orders ourselves for those who have not placed one yet. This is lunch on a Friday, but it’s relatively slow for the moment.

Customer: “I’d like two teas and bread to start.”

Me: “Great! What else would you like to order?”

Customer: “Just that for now, until we want our salad.”

Me: “Okay? Ma’am, just to clarify, all you’d like today is salad, bread, and drinks?”

Customer: “Oh, no! We’ll let you know when we want our lunches. We’re having a lunch date in our cars!”

Me: “Ma’am, you’ll have to order your entire meal at once and take it to go. We cannot serve each course to your car like we could in the restaurant.”

She walked away, telling me she’d be in her car waiting for her food, brushing me off.

I asked my coworkers if someone else could help me explain our new normal to this customer. The customer proceeded to tell two other workers that she was hoping to place her order course-by-course to her car, saying that she already told me her hopes for this “special lunch date” until my manager came to correct the situation.

1 Thumbs

Curbside Pickup Of Disease

, , , , , | Working | May 22, 2020

We were in the middle of a widespread health crisis, but I still needed some lumber and other supplies, so I placed the order online — and paid for it in full — with the option to pick it up at the store. When I got the email that my order was ready, I headed to the store.

I parked by the door nearest the pick-up registers and found it locked. There, an employee told me I needed to enter at the pro entrance — at the other end of the store.

Since my purchases included a significant amount of lumber, I moved my truck to the pro entrance, which was also near the lumber dept. There was nobody outside from whom I could request curbside pickup, so I entered and asked where I could pick up my order. I was directed to the pickup registers — at the other end of the store.  

But since that door was locked, I had to walk the length of the store inside, through all the other (unmasked) customers. I got there, waited a moment for an employee to call on me, and handed her my order confirmation. She called it in and we waited… and waited… and waited. 

Another employee started coughing during this wait, so I stepped several feet away. I didn’t know what we were waiting for because I’d been emailed that the order was ready to be picked up. Around this time, I told the employee that I wanted to exit the pro door because that’s where my truck was parked. She assured me that I’d be exiting that door.

Then, another employee showed up with a cart loaded with my purchase. Now I would have to go back through the crowd to the pro door. I was really miffed, so I asked if I could get out the nearer door. She said no, but that I could exit through the — relatively close — garden center.

I chose that route, as it got me outside quicker, but now I had an even longer way to push the load — and the sidewalk had been blocked by a couple of delivery trucks so I had to push it through the car lane.

And that’s how this septuagenarian got his exercise today. I am so glad I wore a mask, face shield, and broad-brimmed hat to minimize my exposure to all the yahoo customers and employees wandering around the store with no PPE at all.

So much for “curbside pickup.”

1 Thumbs

Limited Shop, Limited Mindset

, , , , | Right | May 22, 2020

The supermarket where I work has introduced measures as a result of the current health crisis. There is a limit to how many can be in the store at one time so people aren’t squished together, and we’ve reduced the amount of checkouts that are open because they’re very close together and limited the amount of certain items you can buy in one shop so we can recover from the panic and bulk buying that’s happened.

I’ve been manning the entrance queue, which takes about eight minutes to get in. I know this because I decided to time it when I saw my mum enter the queue and shop for my granny — her mum.

My shift ends and I join up with her to finish with the shop. We join the checkout queue of about nine people, with an off-the-clock colleague in front of us. A couple joins the queue behind us with a basket and only a few items.

Male Customer: *Loudly* “Another f****** queue?! Outside one took half an hour; this one will take what?”

Female Customer: *Loudly* “Probably an hour and a half!”

Mum: *To me* “They pushed in front of me in the queue outside, so it did not take that long for them to get in.”

Male Customer: *Loudly* “[Other Supermarket] doesn’t have this f****** problem; we can just go straight to the checkout!”

Female Customer: *Loudly* “AND they haven’t limited the amount of pasta you can buy!”

Me: *Loudly, to them* “There are eleven people and eleven checkouts; it’ll be a few minutes.”

They ignore me and continue to loudly complain about how awful and stupid our policies are, and how good [Other Supermarket] is. At this point, the queue includes my off-the-clock colleague, my mum, and me, and then this couple. My colleague walks up the queue as she’s called this couple forward several times to use the basket shop and they’ve been too busy complaining to hear her.

Checkout Queue Colleague: “EXCUSE ME! You can go to the basket shop! Please and thank you!”

Male Customer: “F****** rude! [Other Supermarket]—”

Mum: *Yelling* “If [Other Supermarket] is so great, why don’t you just shop there and save us the headache?!”

Female Customer: “Because they’re out of pasta!”


The couple scurried to the basket shop.

1 Thumbs